Yes, You Really Can Make Money Off a Free App

When iPhones and other smartphones first hit the market, the industry of app development was born. At first, developers weren’t sure how much to charge for apps. Some entertainment apps were free, while others cost hundreds of dollars — or more. Now that the marketplace has more or less settled, many developers have realized their best chance to have their app downloaded is to make it free, or at least very cheap.

If you are working on a new app, you may be struggling with the dilemma of making sure your program is downloaded by making it free, and trying to make money with that app. Luckily, there are quite a few ways you can still make money, even if your app is free. Here are 4 options to consider:

1. In-App Purchases and Microtransactions

If you have ever played a game like Angry Birds, you know there are options to buy your way out of a sticky situation or progress more quickly. There are also non-gaming apps, such as E*Trade, that are free to download but cost money to actually use (such as paying a transaction fee when buying stocks). These kinds of in-app purchases, or microtransactions, are a great way to ensure you still make money, even if you put your app in the marketplace for free.

2. Display Ads

Though they can be annoying to the user, ads can be an effective way to make money with a free app. There are a few different types of ads you can use, such as full display ads that appear every now and again, or banner ads that are on the screen more often than not. The “annoying” factor of ads can actually be used to your favor, if you offer a option for users to pay to not see ads anymore.

3. (Optional) Subscriptions

Some apps, like Netflix or Hulu, are free to download. However, they serve practically no purpose unless you have a subscription to go along with it. If your business requires a subscription, this could be a great option for you. There are also apps like Pandora and Spotify that can be used without ever paying a dime, but offer many more features when a subscription is activated.

4. Stay Connected with Customers

If you have regular customers, why not keep them up-to-date with the latest news surrounding your business? The customer of today expects to have a mobile app for the main companies they work with, and like the simplicity of getting information through push notifications from an app. When customers are more connected, they’re more inclined to buy, whether through the app or otherwise.

Remember, a free app means a greater chance for brand exposure, which in turn means an opportunity for more revenue in the long run. However, these options can help you directly make money through your app. At Five Pack, we can assist you with your mobile app development. Contact us today to learn about our process and all the services we offer.

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